CSU, Chico

Janice Bridwell, Agriculture Business

Janice Bridwell, Agriculture Business

Not yet out of college, Janice Bridwell, a senior in agriculture business, is already working in the job of her dreams. Bridwell was hired in August by Lucero Olive Oil in Corning, Calif. to work on marketing and sales of their new and forthcoming olive oil products.

Bridwell works in the company’s newly opened retail store and tasting room. She also works at events marketing Lucero products and in the bottling process at the mill.

Lucero Olive Oil is a family owned company of third-generation olive growers. Five years ago they started producing their own oils, and since then they have grown dramatically, earning 90 statewide and international awards for their products. Lucero Olive Oil is the first olive oil producer to open a retail store and tasting room on the site of its mill. The grand opening of the room was November 5 – 6, 2010.

Bridwell’s career direction had always pointed toward marketing and sales of product. The Lucero Olive Oil position was the perfect opportunity for her to gain experience in marketing and sales involving agriculture products. Bridwell said, “Since starting my position at Lucero Olive Oil, I have gained greater insight to business management and greatly improved my marketing and communication skills.” She enjoys the marketing aspect of business because it allows her to meet and talk to new people every day.

Bridwell grew up near Yreka, Calif. and attended Yreka High School. She was active in 4-H for 12 years showing rabbits and a replacement heifer. Her senior year in high school she became active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and showed a steer.

During her senior year in high school, Bridwell mentioned to her FFA advisor Harry Sampson that she planned on pursuing a business major in college. He suggested agriculture business and brought her to a California State University, Chico College of Agriculture recruitment event. She said, “I loved the tight-knit feel of the agriculture department and the variety of classes and opportunities the college offered.” After that visit, she was sold on coming to CSU, Chico.

Bridwell enjoys being able to take production classes along with her business classes that count toward her degree. “It keeps your work load diverse,” she explained. “Instead of taking all business classes all the time, I can take production classes as well and learn all aspects of the agriculture industry.”

During the spring 2010 semester, Bridwell was a large influence on the rebirth of the Society of Agriculture Managers (S.A.M.) in the College of Agriculture. S.A.M. is a professional organization that tries to link students majoring in agriculture to professionals in the industry. According to Bridwell, S.A.M. is a way for students to get involved with a club on campus and get a “foot in the door” to a career in agriculture.

Resurrecting S.A.M. was a slow and deliberate process according to Bridwell. She said that the six women who worked to bring the club back comprised the officer team and were the only members until the end of the spring semester when two more students joined. Bridwell took over as president for the fall 2010 semester.

Bridwell commented that “building S.A.M. back up and acting as president for the club helped me develop my leadership skills along with my skills to work in a group setting.” She attributes these leadership skills with helping her to get her position at Lucero Olive Oil.

Bridwell also competed on a Quiz Bowl Team at the annual meeting of the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association in Denver, Colo., July 25-26, 2010. Quiz Bowl is a jeopardy style game that tests students on their knowledge of different areas and issues of the agriculture industry. By participating in the Quiz Bowl, Bridwell said she increased her knowledge of issues in the agriculture industry and gained confidence in answering questions.

Bridwell will be graduating from CSU, Chico in May 2011. She plans to stay in the greater Chico area and continue in a career in marketing and sales of agriculture products. She said, “I love the agriculture industry and want to stay involved in the industry and marketing its products.”